In coordination with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (CAMPO)
on-going 2035 Transportation Plan, the City of Georgetown has recently updated their
Overall Transportation Plan (OTP). The implementation of the OTP is critical in the
overall development of the City. Just as the Comprehensive Plan outlines the long-term
goals and objectives for the overall vision of what Georgetown strives to be in the future,
the OTP serves as a guide for future roadway improvements and/or construction of new
facilities. The plan is a working document from which the City can plan for future
transportation needs. Thorough the adoption of the OTP the City is ensuring that the
basic transportation infrastructure needs and right-of-way will be available as the city
grows and development warrants these improvements.
Study Background and Purpose
This updated plan will be a continuation of the effort that the City completed in 2004
with the adoption of the initial OTP. At that time the plan provided an analysis of
existing conditions and travel characteristics, refined area-wide travel demand model,
review of the City’s roadway functional classification system, and a revised
Transportation Improvement Process (TIP).
Since the 2004 plan, the City has under gone unprecedented growth and development. In
addition the 2030 Comprehensive Plan has been completed including a revised Future
Land Use Plan. While this document serves as a guide for physical growth and
development the OTP serves as a guide for transportation development. Both documents
should serve in coordination with one another as opposed to separate competing
The purpose of the Updated OTP is not only to build upon the previous plan and account
for city wide changes, but also make recommendations for new roadways locations,
functional classifications, revised implementation program, and improved design
recommendations through the implementation of Context Sensitive Solutions. A
secondary purpose is to review the existing sidewalk and pedestrian/bicycle plans and
determine the existing network. This will allow Klotz Associates to determine existing
conditions and thus provide a foundation upon which to build a more complete system.
The transportation improvements recommendations are based on the projected 2035
travel demands. The implementation program will prioritize the improvements through
short-term, mid-term, and long-term recommendations. Potential improvements that will
be considered are roadway widening and/or extensions, bicycle and pedestrian
infrastructure, and transit options. The study will involve an evaluation of various
transportation improvements and will consider the impacts related to traffic/mobility,
anticipated construction and right-of-way costs, and environmental/land use criteria. As
part of the study, the travel demand model will be update and integrated with the
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CAMPO’s newly updated 2035 plan/model while providing a more detailed zone
structure and additional socioeconomic data to better forecast future travel demands in
the Georgetown area.
The study area for the OTP includes the City of Georgetown city limits as well as the
Extra Territorial Jurisdictional (ETJ) area which typically extends one to two miles
beyond the City Limits. There are many transportation facilities within the city that are
not under its jurisdictional control. These include Texas Department of Transportation
(TxDOT) facilities such as Interstate Highway 35, Business Highway 35 (Austin
Avenue), State Highways 29 and 195 as well as the tolled State Highway 130. In
addition there are other state facilities that provide regional circulation – Farm-to-Market
Roads 971, 972 and 1460 as well as Ranch-to-Market roads 2243 (Leander Road) and
2338 (Williams Drive). These facilities lie outside of the purview of the City and as
such, only limited improvement can be recommended also many are land locked such
that any improvement recommendations are not only extremely difficult but nearly cost
prohibitive. Each of these facilities provides a critical link in the City’s overall
development plan. There are added roadways that the City has sole control over and
these include – Shell Road, DB Wood, Pecan Street, and Inner Loop. These facilities
provide critical connectivity for the residents within the City.
The development of the OTP was a cooperative effort between the City of Georgetown
Staff and other City supported agencies. While a Technical Advisory Committee was not
specifically set up for this effort, the Georgetown Transportation Advisory Board
(GTAB) was updated on a regular basis.
There were two Public Meetings held on April 13th, 2010. One meeting was in the
morning at Sun City and the second meeting was that evening at the City of Georgetown
offices. At the two meetings, there were a total of 20 people in attendance. During both
meetings, the public was invited to learn about the project and the changes that have
occurred city wide since the previously adopted Transportation Plan. In addition,
individuals were invited to discuss issues and concerns as they related to the Georgetown
Transportation system and network. This included not only the existing roadway
network but the pedestrian and bicycle trails/paths and transit needs/usage. A second set
of meetings will be held toward the end of the project that will present the evaluation of
the recommended alternatives and to solicit input regarding the Update Transportation
Plan. At this meeting the Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) roadway applications will be
presented and discussed.
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Goals and Objectives
Upon discussion with City Staff it was decided that the goals established as part of this
study will mirror those set forth in the previous OTP (since this is merely an update).
More importantly since the Comprehensive Plan was recently completed, it was decided
that the transportation goals set forth in this plan should follow with the overriding
transportation goals from the Comprehensive Plan.
As previously defined the overall goal of the Overall Transportation Plan is to develop a
transportation system that will accommodate present and future needs for mobility of all
people and goods traveling within and through the Georgetown area, which is safe,
efficient and economically feasible. While this goal is revisited during subsequent
updates, the goal is not changed, only the underlying objectives are refined further. A
secondary purpose of this study is to review the existing sidewalk and pedestrian/bicycle
plans and determine the existing network. This will allow Klotz Associates to determine
existing conditions and thus provide a foundation upon which to build a more complete
The following goals and objectives established in the Comprehensive Plan provide the
framework from which the City can develop the OTP. They set forth the community
values and aspirations, as related to transportation, in each of four main themes: quality
of life, sustainable development, balanced transportation/efficient mobility, and effective
governance. The transportation goals and objectives that were set forth are:
Implement improvements to the local network through the construction of new
thoroughfares, improved signal coordination, access management standards, and
improvements to traffic controls.
Work toward an integrated, multi-modal transportation system that provides a
variety of choices – bicycle, public transportation, and pedestrian – both on a
local Georgetown level as well as a regional level.
Reduced our reliance on single automobile traffic and conventional fuels by
encouraging these to and by the development of better bike lanes and pedestrian
Guide the City future growth and development toward a more balanced approach
between employment and commercial centers, schools and other high traffic
As further refined, the following goals and objectives were set forth to guide the
development of the OTP:
1. Provide for a high degree of safety for motorists, transit users, pedestrian and
bicyclists. This includes considerations of the use of the system and goods
2. The transportation system should be a total system approach, incorporating
the various modes of transportation in appropriate combination, based on
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analysis of travel demand and consideration on community costs, benefits and
a. Roadway facilities should be planned and classified based on function
and relative importance, providing a proper balance of freeways,
tollways, expressways, major/minor arterials, collectors and local
b. Encourage and accommodate through traffic on the classified roadway
network and discourage it on collectors and local neighborhood
c. Encourage the most efficient use of existing and future highway and
street facilities to maximize the benefits of capital investments.
3. The transportation system should consider planned development patterns,
accessibility and mobility needs.
a. Improve overall accessibility to employment, education, public
facilities, downtown and other activity center;
b. The transportation system should provide access between all
developed areas of the region and connections to other cities and
facilities in the region;
c. Minimize disruption of existing and planned developments and
establish community patterns; and
d. Consider development potentials within and beyond the extraterritorial
jurisdiction (ETJ) for the design years and provide tools to assess the
impacts of growth to assist the decision making. This includes the
recently adopted CAMPO Growth Center model.
4. Meet the area’s long rage transportation needs.
a. Establish the procedures for monitoring the Overall Transportation
Plan and provide for periodic updating and revision. It should provide
sufficient flexibility to accommodate changes in land use planning for
the City of Georgetown and other unforeseen changes and conditions;
b. Preserve Right-of-Way for future roadway development and
c. Transportation planning should be performed within the framework of
comprehensive regional planning and should support regional growth
and development goals; and
d. Provide for an orderly improvement and expansion of the roadway
system at a minimum cost as the need for improvement arises.
5. Consideration should be given to social and environmental impacts.
a. Minimize air and water pollution, noise and other environmental
impacts of transportation improvement and new facility construction
and reduce negative impacts when possible.
Travel Demand Model Development
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The primary focus of the Updated Transportation Plan is the development and refinement
of the existing Travel Demand Model (TDM_. Using this model existing and forecasted
future traffic demands on the transportation network were determined. For this study
both the recently completed Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO)
model and the existing Georgetown TDM were used. The CAMPO model was used to
project future traffic demands on a regional basis and the existing roadway network was
obtained from the Georgetown TDM. The refined Georgetown has been inputted into the
existing TDM and under this update that defined further to include areas that had been
annexed and/or developed since completion of the original OTP. Once completed both
models work in conjunction with one another providing not only a regional review of
roadway operating conditions but a more localized analysis based solely on the refined
Functional Classification System
Roadway functional classification refers to the hierarchical arrangement between
roadways and the interaction therein. While the classifications are a general guideline,
they can and do change over time. As land uses change and or transportation facilities
develop, the prescribed classification can be altered. As defined with the City of
Georgetown’s current Unified Development Code (UDC) there are eight distinct
classifications: Alley, Residential Lane, Residential Local Street, Residential and Major
Collector, Minor and Major Arterial, and Freeway.
Each classification has a distinct function in terms of allowing movement in and around
the City of Georgetown. The function of the Alley classification is directly in opposition
to the Freeway classification. Alleys serve local residences; the roads provide access to
and from individual residences and have low speeds and low volumes. Whereas,
Freeways primarily provide regional access – traveling across town or connecting
Georgetown to other cities within the region.
Existing Transportation Conditions
Using the current Travel Demand model, a detailed roadway analysis was completed.
This analysis, commonly referred to as Level of Service (LOS) analysis is used to
evaluate existing and projected traffic volumes onto the study area roadways. Once the
operating conditions have been analyzed, an operational LOS is assigned to each
roadway link. There are six LOS capacity conditions for each roadway facility. These
are designated from “A” to “F”. This is much like a rating system with roadway
segments ranked from LOS A (representing a free-flow optimal condition) to LOS F
(representing a congested forced flow condition).
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As proposed within the OTP, a LOS D is the threshold at which a roadway operates at or
above acceptable conditions. Currently the Unified Development Code has a threshold of
LOS C; however, this is primarily for peak hour intersection conditions. Improvements
are easier to make at intersections as opposed to roadway segments as attainting LOS C is
more difficult and costly. LOS D is a more realistic performance measure to achieve in
roadway operations, and as such, it is the recommended goal threshold.
Under existing conditions most roadways operate at or better than LOS D. There are
some exceptions to this and these primarily include segments of Williams Drive and SH
29. A number of segments associated with these roadways are operating at LOS E or
Future Growth and Development
As was highlighted within the CAMPO 2035 plan, the City of Georgetown is expected to
experience significant growth and development. With this influx of residential
developments and the myriad of commercial/office developments, the population and
employment are projected to increase. Thus the need for transportation infrastructure
improvements becomes of paramount importance.
As part of the CAMPO 2035 Plan, the concept of Activity Centers was developed. This
concept evolved out of the ECT initiative that began in the early 2000s and has spurred a
number of new ideas to improve the way Central Texas grows into the future. The
preferred growth pattern developed through the scenario planning effort of the ECT
identified key areas to focus future population and employment growth into walkable
activity centers around the region.
Within the Georgetown city limits and ETJ, there is only one activity center with another
36 activity centers in the surrounding Central Texas region: 1 large center, 13 medium
centers, and 23 small centers. The Georgetown activity center is medium and is centered
around the location of the planned Lone Star rail station. Since the ECT was initiated and
the scenario planning efforts were accomplished, CAMPO has adopted these concepts
and integrated them into their growth projections for 2035. The following descriptions
were adapted from CAMPO’s 2035 Regional Growth Concept report from May 2007.
The large growth area is the Austin Central City, which consists of the CBD, the
Capital, and the University of Texas, and has the region’s highest amount of housing,
jobs and recreational opportunities. It has a radius of approximately two miles and has the
potential to contain a population of at least 125,000 and employment of 200,000 in 2035.
The medium growth areas (located within the Georgetown city limits) are large regional
cores that are major centers for population and employment in the future. According to
the Texas Workforce Commission, in 2005 the Georgetown Activity Center had 1,400
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employees within the area. The potential for this area could range from 9,000 to 40,000
employees in full build-out. They have a radius of approximately one mile and have the
potential to contain a population in the range of 9,000 – 75,000.
The small growth areas are smaller centers that are more focused on served medium-
sized communities and neighborhoods. In most instances, these centers have a key transit
node that connects to the larger regional transportation network. These small activity
centers have a radius of approximately ½ mile and have the potential to contain a
population in the range of 2,000 – 10,000 and employment of 2,000 – 10,000.
Recommended Design Standards
Currently Roadway Design Standards are housed within the City’s Unified Development
Code (UDC). The standards layout roadway cross-sectional elements based upon
functional classification, intersection and driveway spacing, and to some degree land use
availability. The existing standards specify the total number of lanes, lane width, the
presence of bicycle lanes and parking allowances, median widths as well as emergency
vehicle access. While the recommended cross-sectional information will not change
significantly, through the adoption and implementation of the potential Context Sensitive
Solutions option, there are more opportunities for new and improved roadways to be
planned and designed with not only functional classification in mind but with the
adjacent land use and form in mind as well.
Context Sensitive Solutions Overview
In an on-going effort to coordinate transportation engineering and planning efforts, a
national dialogue has been established to move toward the implementation of Context
Sensitive Solution (CSS) applications to new roadway projects. CSS is a philosophy that
guides public agencies and private entities in all phases of project development, from
planning through project scoping, design and into construction and maintenance. CSS
strives for outcomes that meet transportation service and safety needs, as well as
environmental, scenic, aesthetic, cultural, natural resource and community needs.
Context sensitive project recognize community goals, and are planned, scoped designed,
built and maintained while minimizing disruption to the community and the environment.
CSS is not an aesthetic treatment; rather, it involves development a transportation
solution that fits into the project’s surroundings.
While there has been no final recommendation and or adoption of the transportation plan,
upon initial analysis there are a few primary recommendations. These pertain to both
roadway improvement as well as potential city wide improvements.
Current the City of Georgetown has many roadways as well as intersections that are
operating at Level of Service (LOS) E or F. These are the lowest Levels of Service and
indicate unacceptable travel conditions such as overly congested travel conditions. These
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roadways include portions of Williams Drive, SH 29, and a variety of isolated locations
within the City. The portions of SH 29 and Williams Drive are currently operating at
saturated conditions and are projected to continue operating under these conditions,
unless some significant roadway improvements and/or investments are made. This
includes the purchasing of large amounts of ROW so that additional travel lanes can be
constructed and/or the construction of direct access ramps. While these improvements
could be completed, the expense associated with each makes them virtually cost
In addition, given that the City should reach the 50,000 population threshold once the
2010 census is completed, the construction and/or implementation of a traffic operations
center should be considered. Upon reaching this population threshold the City will be
encouraged to retain control of all of the traffic signals. Thus, the City could nearly
double it traffic signal inventory. Through the implementation of a traffic operations
center, all operations could be housed together and the City can move toward an
Once the public has had an opportunity to provide comments and/or recommendations as
to analysis assumptions, the Updated Plan will be finalized and implementation strategies
will be developed. It is imperative that the Plan be fully adopted by the City Council and
the Georgetown Transportation Advisory Board (GTAB) in order to recognize the
development of the Plan as well as it will become part of the City’s policies and
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